At some point we have to grow up.
I can’t believe I just typed those words to be honest. If you had talked to me a couple years ago I would have said I never want to grow up, I never want to lay my childishness down and replace it with with maturity and wisdom. The Lord however has been teaching me recently that at some point we are designed to grow up.
This blog post isn’t about goofiness (I’m currently employed as a youth pastor and so I have a little bit of freedom to continue being just a little bit goofy). I hope I never lose my goofiness. It is instead about the call on the life of a Christian to lay behind immaturity and childish ways and grow into real mature men and women who love the Lord.
The Lord wants to grow us into the fullness of Christian maturity. Sometimes that’s painful, and sometimes that’s unexpected.
There’s a word that I refound recently, one that is not used often in our conversations.
This is the definition of wean: accustom (someone) to managing without something on which they have become dependent or of which they have become excessively fond
God weans us often. He removes from our lives or from our passions those things that we have become excessively fond of or dependent upon other than Him. This is not unloving or abrasive, nor is it a mathematical formula where God immediately takes us from that which we’ve idolized.
For instance, there are times where I’m dependent upon Jamie, or excessively fond of her. She’s very clearly still in my life and hopefully always will be. However, God has often shown me that she cannot be that source of dependence for me. She does not have the power to save or rescue. Only Jesus has that power.
When our lives get out of focus, when our minds or hearts become way too focused on the things of earth, God will bring us through a process of weaning in order to draw our attention and affection back to the only One who can truly satisfy and save.
When I think about things in this light, it becomes abundantly clear that this weaning process is one of the most loving things that God can do for me and for you. He would not love us well if He let us live our lives with things out of focus, with our hearts being deceived by idols that cannot fulfill or free us.
Look at this dope J.I. Packer quote:
Still he seeks the fellowship of his people, and sends them both sorrows and joys in order to detach their love from other things and attach it to himself.
God doesn’t need our fellowship. He is not lonely without us. But in his love, he seeks out fellowship with his people. Fellowship with God comes through attachment, devotion, and reliance upon Him. When we are functionally worshiping idols in our daily lives, we can’t enter into intimate fellowship with Him.
To remind us of the fact that our idols don’t satisfy or save, God will send sorrows in the form of the idols we worship crashing down.
This can be an excruciatingly painful process that only a crazy person would enjoy. The experience itself is not enjoyable in any light from a physical or emotional standpoint, but the sorrows of idols being destroyed can be a joyful and amazing experience spiritually.
Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1:2-4
Trials can be joy if being like Christ is our aim.
Please do not misinterpret anything I have written. I am not asserting or even implying that tragedy is because of misplaced loves. The loss of a child, a relative, a job, or a dream is not always because that object was an idol in the life of the mourner. Not at all. Yet even these most difficult of trials can have a silver lining when Christ is our aim.
Being weaned isn’t naturally enjoyable.
However, we can be encouraged that the process is for God’s glory and our good.
God uses trials to wean us away from childish things. – Warren Wiersbe
In His Name,
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